Get all your document translations in order soon! The Home Office won’t wait for you to sort it! But first...
Let's Get Up to Date on Brexit
On the 23rd of June 2016, a majority of the people of the United Kingdom made an important decision. Many believe it to be a mistake, but after two and a half years, the choice to leave has remained. On the 15th of January, the House of Commons rejected Theresa May’s Brexit deal by 432 votes to 202. The 16th of January ushered in the Vote of No Confidence, which might have led to a general election, but May scraped by with a mere 19 majority. While there is another major date coming up in this Brexit fiasco (MPs will vote on May's Plan B on Tuesday 29 January) that might change things, Brexit may well survive and go ahead. It is up to May to come up with a better deal, and she has little time to do so before the 29th of March this year. So, what does that mean for all the foreign nationals caught up in this mess?
Want to stay in the UK?
Currently, the government has the “EU Settlement Scheme” cooked up, which allows for EU nationals and their family members to apply for settled status after the UK's departure from the EU. For those that already live in the UK and want to remain, they have until the 30th of June 2021 to sort it out. Exempt from this rule are Irish citizens and anyone that has obtained Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). If you are from outside of the EU, you must be in a relationship with an EU citizen as their spouse, civil partner or common-law partner. Even if you have a Permanent Residence document, you must still apply for settled status. Yikes!
If you are lucky and are granted settled status, you will be able to stay in the UK indefinitely (provided you don’t spend more than five consecutive years outside the UK). You may apply for British Citizenship, work in the UK, study in the UK, use the NHS, and access public welfare programmes. Family members may join you with a Family Visa.
Pre-settled status is largely the same, excepting the ability to apply for citizenship, and with only two consecutive years allowed outside of the UK. In addition to this, after five years of pre-settled status, you will have to apply again, in order to achieve settled status.
All of these applications require identity documents and proof of EU residency. Remember that when submitting documents to the Home Office or any other UK government institution, documents must be English or Welsh. If the documents from your home country are not in English, you NEED a certified translation. You don’t want your visa to run out and have the government tell you that you submitted anything incorrectly. You will need some combination of these documents, depending on your situation.
If you’re living in the UK as a EU resident or are here on an eligible visa, make sure you apply for settled status (with your certified translations) with plenty of time. Don’t wait until the last minute to deal with the post-Brexit bureaucracy. We are in enough of a mess as it is. Brexit is enough on its own, get your papers in order.